12.15.2011

The Sprouts From Brussels

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For the first 29 years of my life, I turned my nose up at those little green mini-cabbage-look-alike that claimed to come from Brussels. In fact, I literally gagged on one while attempting to be polite at an elderly couple's dining room table (you know, take a little of everything, even if you don't like it) - when I was 25. As a married woman, I was passing my Sprouts under the table to my husband so that he could eat them and I wouldn't look ungrateful! The point is, I declared my total loathing of Brussels Sprouts and swore that they would never enter my home nor grace my table.

I recently had to eat those words, along with some Brussels Sprouts.

A year ago my sister brought her dinner to the table (she cooks her own food for all meals as she has Celiac Disease and a host of other food allergies) and I was drawn to the amazing smell of something on her plate. In answer to my inquiry, I was told that they were Brussels Sprouts. How could this be? Brussels Sprouts are nasty little balls of ickiness that I hate! The smell that I was enjoying couldn't possibly be the same thing that I gagged on a mere 4 years earlier.

Wrong-o!

After the unthinkable happened - I tried a bite and didn't gag - I asked for the recipe. I didn't think about it again until almost a year later when I stumbled upon a bag of fresh Sprouts on clearance for $0.99 at my local grocery. After a year of discovering that I actually liked fish (when correctly prepared and de-boned), mussels, and mushrooms, I figured - why not? If I hated them, I knew Peter would eat them and even if he didn't, I would only be out a buck.

In the end, I only wished I had purchased more than one bag.

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So what happened? I once again learned that it's all in how you prepare the food. When I fell in love with the Trout Wolf at Carrabba's earlier this year, I discovered that not all fish has to taste like frozen Fillet 'O Fish, and if it's prepared well, the sky is the limit on what I'd be willing to eat (or at least, try). Believe me, 2011 was a banner year for trying new cuisine. While living overseas helped broaden my palate, it has only been in the last twelve months that I have truly stepped outside my taste buds comfort zone and discovered my inner Julia Child. I blame it on the roux from the Chicken Andouille Soup - but that's a whole other story.

So, if you're curious about how I cook my sprouts, then you will need:
  • 1 bag Brussels Sprouts (NOT frozen - totally unacceptable to use frozen - and cut them into quarters)
  • 1/2 lb. - 1 lb. bacon (I used turkey bacon to keep it South Beach friendly)
  • 1/2 - 1 onion (white, yellow, red - it really doesn't matter, sliced and diced)
  • Minced garlic (I used the minced garlic in a jar - I know, and I'm snobby about frozen sprouts!)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 apple (my sister put apples in hers, but I haven't done that yet)
Slice and dice the uncooked bacon and throw it in a pan (big enough and deep enough to cook the whole mixture in later on). Cook bacon until crispy, then add olive oil, diced onions, and garlic (you can add the Brussels Sprouts at this point if you want, or you can wait - I've made it both ways) and cook until onions are translucent. While that mixture is cooking, I cut off the bases of all the sprouts and then cut them into quarters (top to bottom - twice). If you haven't already done so, toss the Brussels Sprouts in with the onions/garlic/bacon mix and add more olive oil (as needed). You're looking for a slightly crisp sprout in the end - cooked through, but not mushy at all. After 3 minutes or so, I add Balsamic vinegar to the mix (no measurements, but probably somewhere around 1-2 tablespoons - go with your gut). Cook until the Brussels Sprouts are starting to show a little brown crisp on them and you're done!

NOTE: If you want to add the apple chunks, my sister does that close to the end. You might also consider adding some Craisins, but I haven't tried that yet.

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Bon App├ętit!

11 comments:

  1. I adore brussel sprouts but I've never had them like this. Apple and bacon sound yummy! Pinning :)

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  2. yummy! i love brussell sprouts! i have them for the first time when i was maybe 25- isn't that funny?!?

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  3. That sounds DELICIOUS. I'll have to make that this week.

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  4. My kids love the funny looks people give me at the store when they hear my kids beg me to get brussel sprouts! When you select them, look for the smaller ones...they're more tender, and the bigger ones can tend to be bitter. We just steam ours until they're bright green and still crunchy, then add butter and devour them! :)

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  5. Those look tasty! Kudos to you for giving them another try. :) Thanks for the visit today! :)

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  6. I agree I have never had the brussel sprout prepared in a way that has made me want to seek them out in the grocery store. This recipe however seems likes a new beginning...

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  7. I already like brussel sprouts but this way of making them sounds AND looks delicious!! Bacon makes ANYTHING taste better, right?!

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  8. Anne - Thanks for pinning!

    Everyone else - hope you have tried them and enjoyed them! I made them as one of the dishes for our Christmas Eve dinner and there were NO leftovers! :-)

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  9. Ok, having absolutely loathed Brussels sprouts all my life, I was skeptical that I would ever find a recipe which could make me stomach the wretched little things. You, however, have succeeded. I decided to try this tonight, and Josh and I both loved it (first time I ever went back for a second helping- or even a second bite!). So thank you! Just goes to show you that just about anything can be eaten if slathered in enough bacon, onion, and garlic! I used the craisins instead of apples in mine, and it was delicious...

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  10. Hahaha! Beth, that makes me so happy to hear! I KNOW what you mean - as I was cooking them the first time, I thought, "Good thing Peter likes these, because I just don't know if I'm going to be able to do this" - and then I ate two helpings. Butter (and onions, garlic, and BACON) cover a multitude of sins! ;-) So glad you tried and enjoyed them and thanks for the feedback!

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